Jaishankar arrives in Sri Lanka

Colombo, Jan 12 (IANS) Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Tuesday arrived in Sri Lanka to hold bilateral discussions with the island nation’s leadership, media reported.

Jaishankar is expected to meet Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera among other dignitaries, a report in the Daily Mirror online said.

According to the report, during the course of his visit, Jaishankar is expected to pave the way for the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission (ISLJC) meeting scheduled to be held in Colombo next month.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is likely to attend the meeting.

On Monday, Jaishankar was in the Maldives where he met President Abdulla Yameen and Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon and discussed issues of bilateral cooperation.

According to Haveeru online, Yameen apprised Jaishankar of the political developments in the Maldives and “secured the regional superpower’s backing in domestic and international affairs”.

Citing a statement issued by the president’s office in the local Dhivehi language, it said Yameen apprised the Indian foreign secretary of the latest developments in local politics.

He sought India’s assistance in several areas, including domestic and international affairs, ways to improve cooperation in the economic and health fields and regional anti-terrorism efforts.

“The president gave his assurance that his government will continuously work to further improve the close bilateral relations between the Maldives and India,” the report quoted the statement as saying.

“The Indian foreign secretary assured the president that India will always give its fullest cooperation to the Maldives,” it added.

Jaishankar later met Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon on Monday afternoon.

The Indian high commission in Male tweeted that Jaishankar and Maumoon had an “excellent discussion on bilateral cooperation”.

Jaishankar’s visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka comes amid speculation about whether the India-Pakistan foreign secretary-level talks, scheduled to be held in Islamabad on January 15, will take place given the cross-border terror attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot on January 2.

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